BY NARE GARIBYAN
LA CRESCENTA, Calif.—Hundreds gathered on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at La Crescenta High School to celebrate two rich cultures that call La Crescenta home. In this spirit of solidarity the Armenian Cultural Foundation and the Korean American Federation of North Los Angeles hosted the second annual Korean-Armenian Cultural Festival. At the helm of the organizing committee are co-chairs James Pak and Dr. Carmen Ohanian, who are focused on carrying out the group’s purpose which is “to create friendships and a sense of cultural understanding between our communities, which are two of the largest in the La Crescenta area. This allows us to teach our future generations to respect diversity, while maintaining their national and cultural identities.”
In the middle of the high school quad, the American stars and stripes, the Korean yin and yang infinity symbol, and the Armenian tricolor were raised in a joint flag ceremony in unison with the American National Anthem, followed by a trilingual welcome speech by the co-chairs, Ohanian and Pak, in English, Armenian and Korean. Recognition proclamations were presented by the Crescenta Valley Town Council President, Cheryl Davis, and California Assemblyman, Mike Gatto’s Field Representative, Mary Manoukian. The festival created a sense of fluid cultural immersion and community bonding, which was vividly evident through the presentation of Korean and Armenian food, traditional dances, various arts and crafts for children, and products from community vendors. Due to this positive and wholesome atmosphere close to 800 people spent their Sunday afternoon at the festival.
The Master of Ceremony, Arick Gevorkian invited various groups to the stage to entertain the audience with a variety of cultural elements, including martial arts, dance, and music, representing traditional and adopted expressions. The Elite Taekwondo and Choong Hyo Martial Arts group demonstrated Tae Kwon Do movements. Dancers included Hiza Yoo’s Korean Dance Group, Djanbazian Dance Studio, Ethno Folk Dancers, Helen Dance Studio, and NK Studio performed the hip-hop genre. The musicians and singers encompassed the Han Earl Children’s Choir, Korean Classical Music Institute of America, International School of Music, St. Matthew Korean Catholic Church Choir, the Sister’s Academy Children’s Choir, R-Mean Rapper, Lanori Madang, and the Oushatsank World Music Band.
The committee members of the Korean-Armenian Cultural Festival succeeded in creating a dignified cultural exchange that was relaxed and intimate. Hopefully 2014 will bring forth more opportunities to share in our humanity, the main commonality amongst all the diverse groups that reside in La Crescenta and the larger community in California and beyond